Column: How to bolster your reputation?


“You do you” and “your customers do them”. But what happens when “what you do” and “what your customers think” starts to form an opinion about you and your business? At that moment your reputation is formed. 

While people tell others they should never worry about what others think about them, the reputation formula is the only currency that never fluctuates with the market. Your employees; the way you cut deals, the way your business name sounds to others often decides the fate of your reputation. 

Today you must think about reputation management as an important part of your business DNA. You must create a great first impression and then leverage that to create a worthy reputation. 

Here are my tips in keeping your reputation high and make sure your customers remember you in the best way. 

1. Don’t be #fail 

Always try to do your best. But bad reviews are inevitable. Don’t be the company with the bad mouth when replying. Be the company with the funny and witty customers service and attitude. Be open about bad reviews. It is never fun to get one but you can learn  a lot from it. Your response can be a big opportunity to win a client back and make sure the potential clients see your professionalism. 

2. Always help when you can

With a little help from my friends, Joe Cocker sang.  Remember? Nothing better than helping others if you can. Maybe you don’t have the solution to a problem but you might know somebody who does. Make the introduction. And always thank others if they help you. Did you get a job by a referral of somebody else? Make sure this person knows you are grateful by telling them. 

3. Keep your promises

Nothing worse than failing others by not keeping your promises. You want to be seen as the reliable person. People will remember that and trust you. 

4. Give value on social media

Think about your social media as the first channel to build trust with your customers. Make sure your audience sees you as the specialist and expert. The possibilities are endless. Make short videos, show yourself, give advice,… . Make sure you are ‘top of mind’ in your field when customers are looking for information.

5. Don’t be a one hit wonder

Go above and beyond in your services. Small gestures go a very long way and will make your stand out. Send that thank you note. Don’t forget to follow up on a question or email as soon as possible even if your company policy has a 24 h window when replying. People appreciate kind gestures and will remain loyal in the long run. 

6. Always think about the way you look

Some occasions ask for a casual look, others are more formal. Always think upfront on how you will/want to look and follow the dress code. Nothing worse than embarrassing others. 

7. Be consistent

Even when you are having a bad day be authentic. Show your great qualities even if you feel sick, tired,… . People tend to share more bad experiences than good ones. You don’t want to be part of the quick spreading negative gossip. 

8. Engage with your peers

Engagement will show your goals and values. People will get to know you, share resources and make time for you. Return the favor. 

9. Smile and be like-able

Smiles makes people prettier. Congratulate someone when you can. Make them feel special, just because you can. It’s the small things that make your likeable more genuine. Don’t fake it just to be liked. Fake people always end up being inauthentic and risk to be exposed. 

10. Act with integrity

This is the most fundamental part of doing business. Being greedy, selfish or jealous will damage your reputation more than anything else. And it will work completely against you. 

Reputation matters whether online or offline. Most of us will be preceded by their reputation. Do you want it to be good or bad? Make sure it is good. It will help you further in life than any other quality. Communication is key when addressing clients and customers, make sure they see you as a genuine, trustworthy and reliable business. 

This article has been written by @VALERIE THYS

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